A Dangerous Method (2011)
You'd think a movie with Magneto, Aragorn and the chick from the first few Pirates of the Caribbean movies would be better. Did her character even have a name? Whatever, it's Keira Knightley.
A Dangerous Method deals with the earlier days of Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and his relationship with Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen). Knightley stars as Sabina Spielrein, a patient that is initially brought in for treatment, but Jung is able to cure her and she later goes on to become a therapist in her own right. One of my issues is that they totally gloss over how he managed to cure her. It just flash forwards a bit and she's okay now.
I'm also unsure at what the dangerous method was. The trailer implies that the relationship between Spielrein and Jung is dangerous, but at the point when the affair begins, Spielrein is already cured. It's more that it's frowned upon that he's have a relationship with a former patient. I guess 'An Inappropriate Affair' doesn't sell very well as a movie title.
It just felt so sterile. There are scenes where Fassbender is spanking a semi-nude Knightley and you'd think it would be sexy, but it just felt dirty, and not in that good, dirty way, but more like, "I'm spying on people and I don't want to see it."
It's actually very well acted, but the problem is that I just didn't care about anything that was going on. Nothing interested me all that much. The parts where Jung and Freud are working together are probably the only times I was invested in what was going on, but those moments were too few and far between.
This didn't even seem like a David Cronenberg film, but more like a standard docu-drama. It didn't really do anything special and I would have liked more about Jung and and Freud and dropped the Spielrein character entirely.
2.5 (out of 5) Death Stars - It's slow and kind of boring, so it's hard to recommend as a rental unless you really like the cast.
Johnny English Reborn (2011)
The first Johnny English was so forgettable that I honestly cannot remember a thing about it other than I known I saw it at some point. Plus, it came out like eight years ago. Why do they make sequels to movies that didn't do well in the first place? Did anyone at all care that they were making another Johnny English movie?
This is yet another one of these spy spoofs where the main character, English in this case, is clueless or inept. However, he's so inept at times that you wonder how he hasn't accidentally killed himself a long time ago. It's even harder to believe how any agency would allow him to become an agent in the first place, let alone keep the position for years.
Sure, that's the point of these films and normally you can look past that giant hole in the plot if the movie is at least funny. Unfortunately, this doesn't deliver with the laughs either. Most of the humor seems to be the type of stuff that only young kids would find funny. I will say there is actually a pretty funny chase sequence at the beginning that is kind of the opposite of the chase from the beginning of Casino Royale. It's all downhill from there though.
The only thing that kept me watching was that Rosamund Pike and Gillian Anderson were in this. Somehow Anderson looks hotter to me now than she did on the X-Files.
It's another movie that felt too long and it was a struggle for me to finish. It's harmless enough. I mean, it's not offensive or insulting. It's just not good enough to recommend to anyone but the most die-hard Rowan Atkinson fans, well, and kids.
2 (out of) 5 Death Stars
The Hammer (2007)
I actually watched this years ago when it first hit DVD, but honestly, I could barely remember anything about it. I decided to watch it again figuring I'd probably get more out of now that I listen to Carolla so much.
Fortunately, I did enjoy it very much this time around. Carolla has a background in both construction and boxing, so naturally he plays a character that works in construction and also teaches a boxing class. After a successful sparring session, he's asked by a local trainer to try out for the US Olympic boxing team. At the same time he starts a relationship with a girl from one of this boxing classes.
It's mainly a vehicle for Carolla and his trademark humor and rants. It's not raunchy or fast paced, but more of just a good sports comedy, with a bit of a romantic comedy thrown in. Much like I said about Goon in my review of that film, there's heart and sweetness about The Hammer that makes it stand apart from other sports comedies.
Even if you aren't familiar with Adam Carolla or a big fan of his, I think it's funny enough for everyone to enjoy or get something out of.
3.5 (out of 5) Death Stars - I recommend renting it.
Adam Carolla would ask you to go to Amazon if you're looking to buy anything. Except he'd tell you to click through his site, but I'm just going to ask you to click on my link below.
Out on DVD this week:
While not one of Cameron Crowe's better films, I had a soft spot for it. I think the movie might have been hurt by the title. Sure it's actually pretty descriptive as to what the movie is about, but I almost didn't go see the movie because of it. If it weren't for the cast, I wouldn't have taken it seriously at all going into the film. Even then, I was still pretty reluctant to watch this until the opening credits rolled and I realized it was a Cameron Crowe movie.
I wrote in my original review that while it was schmaltzy, it was a cute family film that's well-acted and funny in the right places. I even got a little misty-eyed a few times. It just affected me more than I was expecting. The movie is totally harmless otherwise.
I originally gave this 3 (out of 5) Death Stars and I'll stick to that. I recommend renting if you're in the mood for a nice family film.
War Horse (2011)
I'm not sure how this got nominated for Best Picture. That makes it one of the most overrated and undeserving Best Picture nominees I can think of in recent memory. Is it just because it's a Spielberg movie?
Visually, it's great, but I just felt that the story and soundtrack were too heavy-handed to the point of being manipulative. The soundtrack tells you how you should feel, rather than let you get there on your own. It doesn't help that the human characters weren't very well developed, so that adds to apathy.
I also gave this 3 (out of 5) Death Stars in my original review and I'll stick to that rating, too. I do think it's worth a rental if you haven't seen it yet.
Angel's Crest (2011)
I had so little to say about this movie in my original review, that I split it with a review of another movie (Roadie). It's not terrible, I just didn't think there was a lot to sink your teeth into about it. It has a few decent performances, Thomas Dekker stands out, but overall it's nothing remarkable. It also has Lynn Collins in it, who seems to be getting a lot more popularity after her performance in John Carter, so there's that I guess.
Overall, it's a depressing movie and felt a little too melodramatic for my tastes.
2 (out of 5) Death Stars - This isn't something I'd rush out and rent, but if you can catch it on cable one day or on streaming, then you might get a little something out of the performances.